Passed over for the top job, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton is leaving to start his own consulting firm.
Burton, who until recent weeks seemed on track for the post that went to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, offered the classic explanation for leaving the White House: He wants to spend more time with his family.
Well, sure, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he probably recoiled at having to log a couple more years as deputy press secretary – a mostly thankless job with endless hours – while enduring the humiliation of having been passed over after years of service to Obama.
If he made press secretary, he’d certainly have stayed.
Burton had handled the briefings well as the chief fill-in for former top dog Robert Gibbs. But at 33 he was probably judged too young for the job.
Maybe there were other issues too – I’m honestly not sure. Any White House can be a real den of snakes.
Burton’s departure probably makes well-liked Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest the heir apparent, assuming Carney ever leaves. Earnest, who was also in the running to replacer Gibbs but not given the same chances as Burton, will probably begin acting as the main stand-in for Carney when the press secretary is on vacation or just sick of spinning people for a day.
Burton apparently announced his plans to his colleagues today. He’ll set up shop with Sean Sweeney, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.